all of the selves we Have ever been
It’s a good thing
poor old Mr. Whipple isn’t here to see this.
That man ran a dignified, orderly, well-stocked, and well-patrolled toilet paper aisle.
Even before Mr. Whipple, toilet paper had an interesting history. In the process of evolution and elimination, our ancestors used whatever was available. The earliest humans turned to nature utilizing rocks and sticks and leaves. Later corncobs and wood shavings came in handy. Much later, people began to use paper, and the hefty Sears catalog was prized for more than the merchandise pictured on its pages. Eventually, a separate paper emerged for toileting purposes. By 1928, a soft, attractively-packaged toilet paper on rolls came to market helping the parent company survive the Great Depression. Apparently, toilet paper has a history of significance in national emergencies. Oh, the things we cling to in desperate times!
In the past few weeks, I’ve heard many puzzled people asking, “What’s with the toilet paper?” With it rapidly disappearing from store shelves, even the well-stocked have become suggestible to fear and doubt wondering if they have enough.
We’re Americans, people of action—and of shopping. If we can buy something to solve a problem, well, that’s downright patriotic! Stocking up on toilet paper helps to relieve our feelings of helplessness. It is something we CAN do. We feel prepared and in control of something. But seeing this common item disappear from the shelves has also added to uncertainty and fear. No one wants to be the only fool without toilet paper!
As we face the potential horrors of this pandemic including loss of jobs, loss of money, loss of health, and loss of loved ones, something inside us screams into the dark abyss, “We will not surrender our dignity!” Toilet paper has become the universal symbol and a rallying cry. People are on a roll. Not only are folks buying toilet paper by the truckload, they are engaging in numerous noble deeds as well. Thankfully, we are not hoarding our dignity; we are exercising it and finding that the supply is endless when we share.
No one wants to run out of toilet paper. Or dignity. Not in a pandemic. Not ever. So, enjoy the go, but please, don’t squeeze the Charmin supply.